Friday, April 01, 2005

job interview in a glamorous sweatshop

Despite having this weird feeling that I shouldn’t be there, I still stayed and waited for my number to be called. I was inside a Makati call center’s lounge area, a sleek, carpeted waiting room filled with fifty or so applicants waiting for their turn to be interviewed.

It was Holy Wednesday. No office. It wouldn’t hurt to give this job interview a shot, I thought. I didn’t actually remember having sent my resume to that company in particular. In a fit of depressing ennui, I fanned out my résumés to several companies whose ads I saw in the papers several weeks ago. I was not seriously considering changing careers. It was just a case of the blah (which I’ve been feeling quite regularly these past few weeks) and somehow I wanted to feel that I was still in control of my life by proactively doing something. So I emailed away my résumé.

That’s how I ended up in that lounge. As soon as I was given my number, 72, I felt that my time would be better spent somewhere else. Working for a call center isn’t exactly my dream job. I have this feeling that some of them are merely glamorous sweatshops (no offense to call center agents). Aside from having a prepared script for nearly every possible question a client could ask, you have to continually kiss ass even if you are already being ripped apart with insults. Patience and humility, unfortunately, are not in my short list of virtues.

But still, I stayed on and waited. It’s holy week anyway; I could pretend I was one with Christendom in commemorating Christ’s passion by subjecting myself to self-mortification by way of going through this stupid interview.

We were interviewed two at a time. It can’t get more unflattering than that. I came in the cubicle with a nervous-looking girl who merely laughed whenever words failed her. Oddly enough, the interviewer laughed with her. Was I in the right room? Or did it say ‘Hospital for Nutcases’ on the door?

The interviewer seemed fresh from college. Obviously, he was one of their prized call center agents. I was under the impression that he was more interested in the way we pronounced our words than in what we actually said. He asked us standard, boring questions to which we—the girl and I—replied alternately. After having sufficiently heard both of us speak, he turned to the girl and said “Miss So-and-So, thank you for showing interest in our company. If I don’t call you tonight, you know what that means.” He then shook her hand and told her to leave.

After which he faced me and continued the interview as if nothing had happened. I felt sorry for the girl. How cruel can you get? Why would he turn down a girl who was obviously eager to work (albeit her accent was quite off) and choose a guy like me who doesn’t give a shit if his call center met its quota or burned down?

“How soon can you start working?” he asked.

“Uhhm, buddy, you haven’t even told me how much you’ll pay me. Honestly, the only thing that would attract me to a job like this is the money”

Of course I didn’t say that. You all know how job interviews go. There are always things that are taboo.

So I just said if ever they’d hire me, I can probably report for work one month after as I still needed to resign from my job. That seemed to satisfy him. We chatted for a while and then the bomb came. He was visibly shocked when he learned how much my desired salary was.

“Would you be willing to accept a lower starting salary?” he asked. I said if I’m sure of a promotion after a few months, then I probably would. I found out that they would pay me way below my present salary. He must’ve sensed that I was disappointed. I can be so transparent at times. Seeing that we could not settle the remuneration at that moment, he mumbled something about calling me up so we could arrive at a compromise regarding my salary. Short of saying “Fuck off, you arrogant prick, we can’t afford you!”

Well, I can’t afford to leave my job for them either. It’s not worth it. Not unless they could pay me twice as much as my salary right now plus the money I make for my work on TV. But then again, money is not everything.

I’m back in my little old blue cubicle again. So much for call center interviews.


At 11:41 AM, Blogger dionne said...

patience and humility... hehe! at least you know yourself well. =D

At 4:51 PM, Blogger weng said...

hehe, you would bore yourself to death there anyway...

a perfect job, like love, is illusory. =D

At 5:51 PM, Blogger slim whale said...


Of course I know myself well. I’m the most patient and humblest person alive! Hehehe.


You are so right.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger sun goddess said...

been there... done that... made the wrong decision... learned a lesson the hard way... glad you made the right choice... :)


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